When running a small business, it can be hard to say no to new opportunities that present themselves. Your friends and colleagues will always be introducing their latest ideas to you and deciding which ones are deserving of your time can be tough. Entrepreneurs are like magpies, dazzled by the latest shiny new object. We love to find innovative new ways of solving problems, useful products and the next big thing in services. And that’s all part of the fun of being an entrepreneur, but if we’re not careful, we can end up committing our time to too many projects and spreading ourselves too thinly.
Formulating ideas are often the most exciting part of new businesses, those one sentence pitches that capture the imagination and set the cogs turning in our minds. However, this excitement can blind us from the reality of developing an idea into a business. Ideas, as exciting as they are, are cheap. It’s the execution that takes an idea and makes it a realistic business proposition. And execution can be difficult, time-consuming and costly and there are no guarantees that they’ll be any return on our efforts.
We all want to find new opportunities and grow as entrepreneurs but taking on every new opportunity will dilute our attention, time and money. How, then, can we assess each new opportunity to see if it’s something that’s right for us at this moment in time? Well, I’ve found that if I’m really honest about my ultimate goal or goals in life and business, then by asking just one simple question, I can decide what’s right for me right now and what I need to pass on. Everyone’s ultimate goal is going to be different and remember this is an ultimate goal, not just a goal for the next year or even the next five years. This should be a goal for the next ten or twenty years. Maybe your ultimate goal is to run a business that lets you spend more time with your family. Maybe it’s to create a business that allows you to be location independent. Or maybe it’s to retire before you’re 50 years old. Whatever your ultimate goal is, you need to be certain of it and you need to keep it in mind when an opportunity arises.
The question that you need to ask yourself about any new opportunity is this: By saying yes to this, am I going to get closer to or further away from my ultimate goal?
By asking this question, we can validate new opportunities against ourselves and our long term goals. It helps us to say yes or no to things with some confidence and not just through arbitrary feelings. Whether we say yes or no, this question leaves us in a much better position that simply going with our gut. Perhaps we say yes because we think that the opportunity will take us closer to that ultimate goal. Great! And if we say no, we know that we are saying no because we’ve assessed the opportunity against what we want to achieve in the long term.
Issue Challenged in this Small Business Podcast:
How can I better assess and deal with opportunities as they arise?
* Have a very clear plan where you want to be in 10-20 years and set your ultimate goal. What is your ultimate goal? You need to create stepping stones to that ultimate goal and you can’t do this without having a clear idea of what it is. Is it financial freedom? Is it to have the flexibility to spend more time with your family? Is it to be a billionaire? Everyone’s ultimate goal is going to be unique to them.
* Never turn down the opportunity to listen to an idea. Don’t turn away opportunities because you feel too busy. Listen to pitches, get the facts and learn as much as you can. Let people tell you what they have in mind. Listening to an idea is in no way a commitment and you never know when you are going to come across the next opportunity that will take you closer to your ultimate goal.
* Validate opportunities against you